Summertime is party season. The weather’s warm, the sun doesn't go down til much later, and people are itching to get out and enjoy themselves. Whether it’s a couple people hanging out on the deck grilling or a big blowout with dozens of people, folks just want to socialize. We have two big parties every year, a Christmas party and a summer pool party. They’re monsters that span an entire weekend with probably 100 to 150 people all told. It's a little bit nuts.
But every year we are surprised that there are people who just don't know how to be good party guests. With this in mind, we’ve pulled together a couple tips to help people relax and enjoy themselves more.
Call or text a few days, or even a few weeks ahead and find out what you can bring. Remember, the hosts are shopping & prepping in advance so if they know that somebody's bringing pasta salad it’s one thing they can cross off their list. If you can cook offer to bring a dish of some sort. If not, offer to grab a couple bottles of booze, some mixers, or even just a tray of store-bought cookies. But if you say you'll bring something you’d damn well better bring it, because if there’s an empty place in the food line with your name on it, people will talk. Also, if you have a food allergy or are vegan or vegetarian, you kind of have to cover your own ass - bring something you know you can eat. Don’t expect the host to make you something vegan, soy, and gluten-free.
Pro tip: Call or text the morning of the party. Offer to come help set up (if you're going to be able to get there early enough) or find out what last minute things they need - cups, ice, plates, whatever. Trust us, as someone who’s hosted a lot of parties, there's always a million last minute things that we could use help with.
A hostess gift is always a plus - flowers, a nice bottle of wine or something, but make sure it’s something the hosts would actually want. We have some great gifts here at Burly Stone - who doesn’t love a great soap? A side note about wine: It’s safe to say anyone who drinks wine would rather have a smaller $15 bottle of nice white, red or rosé than a bigger $12 bottle of cheap wine.
What type of party is it? You want to make sure you’re dressed right - don’t be the weirdo who shows up at a pool party in a tux, unless that’s your thing. Are kids invited/welcome? What about bringing a +1? Is it an open house or do they need an RSVP? With an open house, RSVPs are less important, but a dinner party for 12 is a different story. The more you know, the more comfortable you’ll be when you get there.
In parties, just like in life, timing is everything. If the party starts 2 o'clock, for god’s sake, don't show up at 1. If you’ve offered to help set up then yes get there early, or if you’re coming from out of town you have a lot less control. But generally speaking don't get there before the party’s supposed to start. Trust us, there's always a mad dash the last half hour trying to set stuff up.
The flip side of that is don't be the last person to leave. You'll get a pretty good sense of when the party’s starting to break up so either say your goodbye’s then or pull a classic Irish goodbye. But don't be the guy the hosts are literally pushing out the door and turning off the lights five seconds later.
You’ve gotten to the party, dropped off your dish & maybe a little gift, so now what? Now it’s party time - have fun, and be a good guest! But what does that even mean?
Say “hey”: Make sure you track the host down & thank them. This is really important If you’re the friend of someone, and you don’t know the host.
Put the phone away: If you’re taking pictures, or texting someone directions, that’s cool, but the whole reason you're there is to be social. Surfing the web, or looking for hookups on GrowlR or Tinder? Not cool. All the fun people are less than 20 feet away anyhow... why not talk to an actual person?
Socialize: Learn how to chit-chat. Actually listen to what the other person is saying, and ask questions. Don’t be afraid to walk up to new people & introduce yourself. Step out of your comfort zone and you never know who you might meet - remember, it’s your responsibility to have a good time.
Help out: This is huge. Pick up trash, clean up after yourself or others. If you know the house well, show people where things go, where the bathrooms are. Our parties are huge, and we wind up with a dedicated crew of close friends who help set up, break down, cook, and clean during the parties - couldn’t do our parties without them. But simply having people step in & offer to pull bags of trash? That’s a lifesaver.
Don’t be “That Guy” (courtesy of our friend Bob): Every party has one. If you don’t know who we’re talking about, surprise! You’re “That Guy” for the day, and we’ll be talking about you in gory detail tomorrow.
Respect the house: You’re a guest. Don’t try to change the music, take over the party, or go rifling through drawers looking for shit. Be a grownup & ask if you need something. The stories we could tell that fall under this category....
Social Media: Pictures are great, but make sure it’s cool with folks (especially the hosts) before you share. It’s easy enough to set up a limited viewing album on Facebook.
How drunk is too drunk?: The age-old question. But we promise you that no one wants to clean up after you. Know your limits.
The “After Party”
The next morning make sure you send a “thank you” email or text. That’s pretty basic courtesy these days. Depending on how big/messy the party is, offer to come back the next day to help with clean up.
We didn’t realize we had this much to say. What it really boils down to is this: Don’t show up empty-handed, offer to help, have fun, and don’t overstay your welcome. Oh, and don’t be “That Guy”.
Thanks for reading - and Be Burly!
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